Government dragging its feet over reclaiming airport: Umar

Sep 18, 2012 - 12:33
  • The press conference held by the pro-government political parties yesterday. They have launched a campaign to reclaim the airport from GMR India. PHOTO/ IBRAHIM FAID

  • The press conference held by the pro-government political parties yesterday. They have launched a campaign to reclaim the airport from GMR India. PHOTO/ IBRAHIM FAID

Though the political parties in the Civil Coalition supports the current government, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Interim Vice President Umar Naseer yesterday alleged that the government its dragging its feet over reclaiming the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) from GMR, India.

During the press conference announcing a fresh bid to regain the INIA under the theme "Maldivians' Airport to Maldivians" Umar expressed wishes to reclaim the airport from GMR as soon as possible.

"We'll take it tomorrow; we'll take it the next day. We'll consult him, we'll consult her. It’s been dragging on like this. We don't want this to go on like this. We want it to be settled here and now and if a party has any complaints, it can take the issue up in court," Umar said during the press conference held in Nasandhura Palace Hotel yesterday.

Apart from Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) all other pro-government parties including the parties in the Civil Coalition participated in yesterday's press conference. It included Adhaalath Party (AP), PPM, Jumhoory Party (JP), Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), People's Alliance (PA) and Gaumee Itthihaad Party (GIP).

AP's President Sheikh Imran Abdulla revealed that DRP had also been invited to join the fresh efforts to reclaim the airport. However, DRP has said that it had requested the government to clarify the aftermath of annulling the agreement with GMR and hence would not partake in any initiative against the company before the information is received, according to Imran.

All parties during the press conference echoed the same view that the airport must be taken back as soon as possible. The parties had also given the assurance that their objective will be achieved in a minimum time frame.

"We all know as clear as day that this agreement is not valid. There is nothing more we need to think about. We know what we're doing and saying. Government is obligated to tell the GMR to pack their bags and leave. If they are not going to raise their issues through dialogue they are welcome to take it up in court. After they do that and if a ruling is made against us, we will sit-down and negotiate on a settlement. We are quite certain that the agreement is not valid," JP's leader and Maamigili constituency MP Gasim Ibrahim said.

Imran further said that in addition to the political parties, if everyone else joined together, reclaiming the airport is certainly achievable. He added that the government regaining control of the airport involves the best interest of the people.

The AP's President revealed that the new initiative of the political parties to reclaim the airport has been launched under an elaborate plan. On that note, he said that when the time came, details of it will be revealed.

"Inshah Allah we will achieve the desired result very soon. A lot has been planned for this. Everything will fall into place on the planned time Insha Allah," Imran said.

DQP Vice President and Vilufushi constituency MP Riyaz Rasheed said that it was now clear that there are both "honest" and "deceitful" leaders in our midst. He also alleged that the desired objective had not been achieved because of such "deceitful leaders."

While stressing that he would put aside personal interest for the interest of the nation pledged to reclaim the airport from GMR as soon as possible.

Representative of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik's GIP and State Education Minister Aminath Ali said that the party will work in line alongside all other political parties in the efforts to reclaim INIA. She detailed that the GIP will work for the benefit of the Maldivian people with rest of the pro-government coalition.

“We will always work in tandem with the coalition to shield and protect the Maldivian economy,” Aminath said.

The President of the Civil Coalition Sheikh Mohamed Didi said that handing over INIA was the beginning of the “economic servitude” of the Maldivian people, which is the key to all other forms of slavery.

Mohamed Didi stressed that the INIA is an important organ of the country and that the contract to develop the place was awarded to GMR through a deceitful plan.

“The Civil Coalition will not tolerate this. We will not make any kind of compromise on this. We will not back down even a single step. The Civil Coalition will work with rest of the political party coalition to reclaim the Maldivian airport for the Maldivian people. Insha Allah there aren’t many days left for that,” Mohamed Didi said.

All pro-government parties besides the DRP have started a campaign to reclaim the airport from GMR a week after the government committee assigned to review the agreement with GMR finished their task and publicized its forecasts.

A press statement issued by DRP yesterday called on the government to resolve the issues with GMR as soon as possible through legal means if the agreement is found to be invalid.

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